Tailgate Ministry: Colonial Heights man spreading the good word

Matthew Lane • Feb 20, 2019 at 9:15 AM

KINGSPORT — I came across Clifford Andrews of Colonial Heights earlier this week while driving the kids home from school.

He had his red truck backed up to the intersection of Fort Henry and Warpath. A small stack of Bibles, religious tracts and other books sat on the tailgate. Beside the truck was a sign that read “burden drop off area.”

“I’m just a man who loves the Lord,” Andrews said about why he was parked at the intersection. The 62-year-old isn’t a preacher. He’s just a member of Indian Springs Baptist Church and says, “I just love the Lord. I read his word. I want to preach the gospel to the Kingsport area, and I want to put a Bible in people’s hands who need it.”

Andrews has been doing what he calls a “tailgate ministry” for about a year now, saying “the Lord laid it on my heart.” On Monday, Andrews received quite a bit of encouragement from passing motorists. A few thumbs up, a lot of honking horns, and unfortunately, a few middle fingers, he said.

Initially, Andrews bought some Bibles, tracts and bookmarks to give away. As his stock depleted, other people and friends donated money to the cause, which has allowed him to replenish his stock.

One gracious lady gave him a whole bag of Bibles at one time, he said.

“The past year I’ve given away maybe 30 Bibles. But I got to pray and talk to a lot of people, and a lot of people stop because of the signs,” Andrews said. “If I can get out once a week, I feel good about it, and if things aren’t happening at this location. I can always move to another one.”

When I spoke to Clifford on Monday afternoon, he’d been at the Fort Henry intersection a little over two hours. Three people, not including myself, had stopped to talk to him that day.

“I prayed with a lady who lost everything in a fire and another lady with a strained relationship with her family,” Andrews said.

Earlier in the day, Andrews said he’d been parked near Warriors Path State Park. In the past, he’s gone to other locations across town. One of his favorite places is near the Kingsport Greenbelt behind PetSmart.

“I like to go sit a lot of places where there’s foot traffic so I can talk to more people,” he said.

But the intersection at Fort Henry and Warpath is one of his favorites because of the nearby Bible bookstore.

“It’s shut down now, and I know Satan was probably happy the day it shut down, but guess what? The Bibles are back at this corner and this time they’re free,” Andrews said.